The questions of whether and /or where to build a new baseball stadium would not ordinarily spark the interest or concern of the Richmond Peace Education Center, which focuses on issues of peace and social justice. However, the continuing debate over whether Richmond should build a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom has such implications for social justice in the City and our entire area that RPEC is compelled to speak out on this issue.
Our opinion: We must preserve the historical sites in Shockoe Bottom.
A baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom would impinge on, if not desecrate, the historical memories now honored by the Richmond Slave Trail and the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project. This alone is sufficient reason to put such an intrusive project elsewhere. The area where as many as 350,000 human beings were sold into slavery, where thousands more were jailed and many died and were buried must be protected as a memorial to those who suffered here, and as an inspiration to future generations as they strive to build a society of justice and inter-racial harmony.
Preserving and protecting those areas of our city that are historically and culturally significant to all of our citizens is essential.
The Peace Center has recognized the efforts of the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project, which led the effort to reclaim the site of the African Burial Ground from beneath a VCU parking lot, honoring them as our Peacemaker of the Year for 2011.
We stand with all those who are working for the preservation of historic spaces in this precious historical area of our city.
This statement is issued by the Richmond Peace Education Center.
(Photo credit: the Richmond Defenders for Freedom, Justice, & Equality)